With grant funding from the Witter Bynner Foundation and collaboration with the Town of Taos SOMOS is launching Taos' first ever Poet Laureate to begin on Jan. 1, 2018.
For years both Santa Fe and Albuquerque has had a Poet Laureate who have served two year terms and presided over historic and cultural occasions with commemorative poems. 2018 marks Taos' inclusion in selecting a Poet Laureate who will have the opportunity to design a long-term project or program of special interest to help define a vision for the promotion of poetry and literature in Northern New Mexico.
A poet laureate is defined as "a poet appointed to, or regarded unofficially as holding, an honorary representative position in a particular country, region, or group."
The three judges for the selection of the Poet Laureate are: Deborah Rael-Buckley, Kathleen Knoth and Joshua K. Concha.
Native New Mexican Rael-Buckley, is an award winning ceramic sculptor. She earned art degrees from the University of Illinois-Chicago and and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before returning to New Mexico in 2003. "Her large-scale narrative ceramic works have been widely published and collected in private and public collections including the State of New Mexico, the National Mexican Museum of Art in Chicago and the Albuquerque Museum of Art," a press release states. She has her studio in Ranchos de Taos where she lives with her husband Thomas Buckley and her two dogs.
Knoth started the UNM-Taos Library in 1995 with a desk, a computer, and a bookshelf. Twenty-two years later, the library has grown to serve students, faculty, staff and just as importantly, the community-at- large. She has been a SOMOS member for many years, on the Board of the Friends of DH Lawrence since 2006, one of the originators of the UNM-Taos/SMU- in-Taos Fall Lecture series, and has served on the Taos Public Library Advisory Board. She helps edit and proofread HOWL, the annual UNM-Taos literary and art magazine, and has helped numerous local authors with their research and manuscripts. She recently earned the award of Academic Librarian of the Year by the New Mexico Consortium of Academic Libraries.
Joshua Concha lives, loves and tends the land at Taos Pueblo, New Mexico where he grew up. Living only a stone’s throw away from the foothills of Taos Mountain has enhanced his affinity to nature and has been a huge part of his expression through the arts. He attended Stanford University for two years in the early 90’s before he earned a Bachelor of University Studies degree from UNM in 2011. Focusing on English and Psychology in his studies, he graduated summa cum laude. He enjoys making jewelry, stone sculpture, and watercolor in addition to writing and playing guitar. Most recently, his poetry appeared in the the Winter 2016 issue of The Notebook: A Progressive Journal about Women and Girls with Rural and Small Town Roots and in the online anthology 200 New Mexico Poems.
Poet laureate applicants must be at least 18 years old, have lived in Taos County for at least five years, with deep connections to the tri-cultural life of the region, and be actively participating in the literary community, according to a SOMOS press release.
Application guidelines can be found on somostaos.org/poetry or by contacting SOMOS, firstname.lastname@example.org, (575) 758-0081.